Black Women Breastfeeding – Brittany’s Story

The interview below is with Brittany. This Milky Momma is such a warrior! From overcoming a NICU stay and weaning from the nipple shield, to these stunning images of her family, this post is sure to inspire you! Check it out ❤

What has your breastfeeding journey been like?

Our breastfeeding journey has been somewhat like a roller coaster to say the least. We started off with the odds stacked against us. Our son was our first child and had to be delivered via emergency c-section due to some complications. He was admitted to the NICU shortly after delivery, much to our dismay. We did get to do some skin to skin immediately after his arrival, but the golden hour of uninterrupted time and the image of watching him do the breast crawl to latch on for the first time ended up being just a shattered dream.

We spent the first 12 hours of his life on two different floors of the hospital while the hospital lactation consultants taught me how to hand express drops of colostrum into bottles that my husband would take down and feed him prior to the formula he was required to have. After some bad direction and not enough knowledge myself I started pumping day 2 and on day 4 left the hospital with a hungry son who wouldn’t latch more than a minute, engorged breasts full of milk, and a hope and a prayer that it would get better.

For the next 6 weeks we battled a significant drop in birth weight, introduction of bottle and pump to avoid using formula, nipple shields to get used to latching and many, many tears from baby and me. Looking back on it all I’m so happy to say that with the exception of his first 24 hours in the NICU and the formula he had there our son is 19 weeks, 18 lbs, EBF and thriving!!

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Did the women in your family breastfeed?

Yes, my mother, both grandmothers and mother in law all breastfed their children. I think the fact that it was something they all did really made me want to continue the family tradition and do it also.

What made you want to breastfeed?

I wanted to breastfeed because in my eyes breast is best and as a mother I only wanted the best for my son. I knew in my heart that for 41 weeks my body had prepared itself to not only bring him into the world but be his sole source of nutrition and nourishment also. As long as I put forth the effort and didn’t let the obstacles get in our way I told myself that it was 100% something we were going to be successful at.

What is the biggest bf challenge you’ve overcome?

By far the biggest challenge was getting my son to latch in the beginning. I think my pumping far too soon led to a LOT of engorgement which made it harder for him to latch. Without the suggestion of doing some bottle feeding/ using a shield we would have had to resort to formula.

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Who are your biggest supporters?

Surprisingly one of my biggest supporters has been my son’s pediatrician. I’ve heard so many horror stories of doctors promoting formula when issues arrive with breastfeeding, but thankfully that hasn’t been our tale. After our son dropped a good amount from his birth weight his doctor told me each time he was hungry, to work on latching and nursing directly for 5-10 minutes and then after that pass him off to my husband while I pumped and he fed him via bottle.

She knew the importance of giving him time to learn to latch but then also knowing that he needed to eat and there was only a certain level of frustration we both could handle. She was also the one who suggested the shield for us, which ended up being a true game changer. In our case we were able to have complete nursing sessions with it and eventually stopped with the bottle once we got the hang of things. At 6 weeks she told me to work on weaning him from the shield and two days after we started he was nursing like a pro without it!

After our pediatrician, I’d definitely have to say my twin sister. She has no children of her own yet, but being each other’s only siblings I knew and could sense that she felt how important breastfeeding was to me and in the darkest of dark moments she was my biggest cheerleader cheering us on and supporting us all the way through.

Tell us your favorite story about an experience with breastfeeding.

I had major anxiety about nursing in public, but one day found myself out in the mall searching for a lactation room to no avail. With my crying 5 week old I sat down on a bench in literally the middle of the mall, shyly pulled out my never used nursing cover for my comfort and popped my son on my breast. With my eyes darting back and forth to each side checking out our surroundings I prayed we wouldn’t cause a sort of scene that would be uncomfortable to me. Soon an older woman walked by. From the other side of the aisle she shouted: “I see those little feet peeking out under there, YOU GO GIRL!” and gave me a huge smile as she kept walking by. I couldn’t help but to smile back and feel the biggest sigh of relief that my first ever in public experience didn’t make me cry.

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Is there anything else you’d like to share or encourage other moms?

I share my gospel of breastfeeding with anyone I can. But I never forget to share both sides of the story, the bad and the good. Not only to be candid but to encourage all women out there who want to share this bond with their child that it may not always be easy, but nothing in life ever truly is. And with persistence and patience you can literally overcome any obstacles and have a successful breastfeeding relationship with your child. So to all the other proud breastfeeding women out there, as a stranger once told me: “You go GIRL!”

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Yes! There is nothing better than positive reinforcement for nursing in public. Did you love Brittany’s story? Leave her a “You go GIRL” or other positive comment below, and be sure to check back in here for more stories from inspiring Milky Mommas!

 

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